It’s Freedom Day - the day that our great nation rejoices, once a year, to commemorate the 27th April 1994, when our first democratic election was held in South Africa.
1. Volkswagen Citi Golf: The Citi Golf is a South African favourite; in fact, it is so popular that we’re almost certain every South African has a story that involves the original Golf MK1 shape. Many of us had the Citi Golf as a first car, which was literally the key to freedom and the open road. For that reason the Citi Golf has to symbolise democracy in our country;
2. Nelson Mandela’s BMW 7 Series: Our late, great leader’s car was a long-wheelbase e67 7 Series, so Madiba had some performance under him as it was the 327kW/600Nm V12 760li version. The severe weight gain the car suffered as a result of being made bulletproof, with a strengthened floor, fire-extinguishing system and an emergency exit, meant that power was needed to lug that bulk around. If ever there was a car that symbolised freedom, it is this, as Mandela was transported in it during his HIV/Aids campaign at the turn of the century;
3. Ford Mustang convertible: We had one of these on test recently and despite the fact that we feel it’s too expensive and a bit of a letdown to drive in 2.3 EcoBoost auto guise, we still can’t help feeling that this car embodies freedom. From its outlandish muscle-car looks to its overly American persona, it just makes you feel as though you are on the Interstate in the USA, without a care in the world and there’s something very special about that;
4. Toyota Land Cruiser: The Land Cruiser is the ultimate expression of off-road freedom, well, actually, the Land Rover Defender is too, but in a South African context we seem to prefer the Toyota. The Land Cruiser has built a name for itself by doing what it says on the tin, cruising over land - pretty much any land; a vehicle that can take you anywhere you’d like to go is surely something that represents freedom;
5. Mazda MX-5: There were a few vehicles vying for the last spot on our list however, we’ve chosen the MX-5 because it provides reliable, affordable fun open-top driving to the masses. The idea of driving with the top down, in a car that’s engaging and that you can trust, allows us to feel as free as a bird. Step inside one for a drive with the top down and you’ll be as excited as we are every time the opportunity to drive one arises.